Where to start? In the words of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, I shall start at the very beginning………
At the tender age of 6, i was kindly given my first Casio 16Key Keyboard by my mum and grandpa. that day was the start of many musical memories! I taught myself the basic Do Re Me's which then flourished into the full Classical scale of C. I begged my mum for piano lessons when i was at school, and finally one day she gave in.
I remember my first piano lesson, my teacher Mrs Ingram made me skip my Grade 1 and start with Grade 2. I was over the moon! I continued with my Classical Grades up to Grade 6, completing my Theory exams too. Whilst studying piano at school, my music lessons with class became a show. It was my time to showcase what i had learnt the previous week, and i ended up becoming the entertainer of our class!
From solo piano performances came solo numbers in our singing part of class. I never knew i could sing, i just assumed everybody wanted me to entertain and make the lesson go quicker! Until one day, my music teacher pulled me aside and asked me to join the school Choir! At first i cringed! But i eventually came around to the idea of skipping maths lessons for 'choir rehuearsals'!
So there it started, Do Re Me and a couple of missed maths lessons!
As i grew into my teenage years, i was always known as the misfit, the girl that was never in a 'crowd' just one that floated here and there trying, as every teenager does, to fit in. I eventually found my feet with my very theatrical friends that inspired me to carry on with my music and develop it into something more. They always pushed me to strive for more and i was determined to make something of myself!!
My grandpa passed away when i was just 10. When i was little he used to sit me on his knee and sing me songs by Louis Armstrong and musicals such as 42nd Street! He truly inspired my musically, teaching me where music originated from and about real soul and jazz. This is where i get my name Vogel from. I was named after his mother Katie Vogel! As my grandpa and I were so close i insisted that i became and honorary member of 'The Vogel Club' which he made happen by getting all the members of the Vogel family to know, that i was know to be known as Katie Vogel! I remember when i was just 7 my mum got called into my school as i had written on my name as Katie Vogel on all my papers! I never got in trouble, i was just encouraged to be me, free spirited and determined to succeed!
Back to my teenage years, i was bullied terribly at the same time as my family were going through a major crisis (Very long story for a rainy day!) My dad told me to write down everything i was feeling and why i was feeling so sad. My sister was old enough to go out and get on with her own thing and my younger brother was too young to understand what was going on, so i was the person my family turned to in their time of needs. But at such a young and tender age, sometimes it was just a bit much.
So there i was, a misfit, with a passion for the piano writing down my thoughts and feelings that one day it came to me. As i sat in front of my Yamaha Clavinova, i began to sing the words to a piano piece i had composed earlier. That's when my writing began…..
My theatrical friends had studied musical theatre and went to drama schools across the board which encouraged me to get off my behind and say 'right, this is it, I'm going to be a singer/songwriter!'
I worked two part time evening jobs to pay for vocal coaching whilst trying to complete my studies in Photography and History of Art at Amersham college, but this was my means of escapism, vocal lessons set me free!
My first session was with Stevie Vann Lange at Ebony and Ivory Studios in Collindale London. I never forget the day I walked into the basement studios and was completely blown away by the front wall covered with autographs from Robbie Williams, to Blue and The Sugarbabes (all huge artists in the UK) I turned to a lady sitting on a mismatched sofa and said 'that will be me one day!' Turned out, that was Stevie who was going to be coaching me! Typical!
Stevie fell in love with my song. It was the first song i had written, it was called 'Come On Home' She told me i had the voice of an angel and wanted to put me in touch with management then and there. I was completely blown away by this! I never expected to be placed with a manager let alone to be told i could sing AND write!!
So as i continued to write about my life experiences so far, i was put with a manager called Nick Nicholls. He got me my first gig at Woody's, a small venue in Westbourne Park London. It was May 04, i was as nervous as anything, and then he gave me the news just as i was about to go on and perform live for the first time! SONY BMG are here watching just for you! As you can imagine, freak out or what!!!!!
So the gigs came flooding in, from The Cobden Club Westbourne Park, to The Barfly Camden, Cargo in Shoreditch, The Water Rats in the city of London, it was all a dream come true at that point! Nick also set up a couple of writing sessions at Universal in Hammersmith with Gordan Comissioner Williams a hugely talented writer and producer that wanted to be a part of my journey.
As i continued with writing and vocal coaching sessions, not forgetting college as i needed to finish my exams for my National Diploma (which i passed with Merit and Distinction by the way hehe) my passion grew fast as well as my enthusiasm and determination! I was adamant to make something of the Vogel name, not just for me, but for my for my grandpa and my family! I still visit him at the cemetery and leave my Cd's for him.
Unfortunately things didn't work out with Nick Nicholls and we both mutually decided to part from each other. I was then introduced to a lady called Erika Lee who had previously been sending my music out to her contacts in USA as well as the UK. Marshall Altman picked up my songs and loved what he heard, however we never got the opportunity to develop anything as i didn't have funds to fly out to America.
Erika co/managed me with a guy called Richard Hannan. Good old Rusty (Now i know why!) We did have a great time though. Richard set up more gigs for me at The Orwell Pub in Shoreditch, which is where i met Chaz Jankel from Ian Dury and The Blockheads. Chaz saw me perform my acoustic set, just me, a piano and a guitar, and he loved it! We got talking after the show and he insisted that we write together, which was just unbelievable! Two days later, there i was, sat in Chaz Jankel's house with a cup of tea, acoustic guitar and a Wurlitzer piano, and the magic happened! We wrote a whole album worth of songs together such as 'I wanna go to the park, Hey you get off my man, Falling out of love, and rock steady'. It was a roller coaster ride of emotions and a journey i will never forget not in a million years!
Whilst Chaz and myself were writing, i was still on the gig circuit, mostly venues i had played before, and a couple of new ones such as a mini festival in the countryside to a UCL gig in Central London.
I also wrote a song called 'Ray of Light' which was a song inspired by a family friend. One night he came over for dinner with his wife, and completely insulted me and my music, everything i had put my heart and soul into he ripped to shreds! I went straight upstairs to my room and thought, I'm not going to cry I'm going to hold my head up high and show him!
So here i had this empowering song, and i thought to myself, there are too many people in this world that are made to feel so terrible just so others can feel good. I decided to take my song to an anti-bullying charity http://www.bullying.co.uk which were so excited to get involved and start a campaign!
We took the song to local radio and made it available for free downloads for the users on the site as well as spreading the word through friends and family and fans. I think the song had over 50,000 downloads! I was totally inspired and ready for action!
Whilst the Anti-Bullying campaign was happening, my manager got my the support opening slot for East 17's comeback show at The Shepherds Bush Empire! I was the only opening act and I just remember thinking to myself, OH MY GOSH, how am i going to open up for East 17 and play to a bunch of screaming girl fans wanting the boys and ONLY the boys! It was such a huge challenge for me, I had Gibson sponsoring me for the show in which they Lent me a beautiful Gibson Guitar, and i just thought to myself just shut your eyes and take a leap of faith. The show was an absolute success. The crowd loved it as did agents and label's that came down to see it! I thought great, this is it!
However, this is the music industry we are talking about and unfortunately it didn't take off quite as i had expected!
So, in the meantime, whilst setting up meetings with record labels and playing smaller venues once again, i went out one evening and overheard people saying that Glen Matlock from The Sex Pistols was in the building. As you can imagine, obviously my ears pricked up! Glen Matlock from The Sex Pistols!!!!! So very innocently i looked around the room for a man that i had NO idea what he looked like, and eventually i gave up. I sat next to this guy and turned round to him and said 'You know, Glen Matlock from the Pistols is here' he turned and looked at me and said 'Oh really!' Totally NOT knowing that this guy WAS Glen Matlock i couldn't help but laugh when he told me!!!! That got the conversation flowing alright! The week after, i was sat in Glen's house listening to him perform a live acoustic version of Pretty Vacant and God Save The Queen. I could not believe that me, little old misfit Katie Vogel was sat there writing music with such a legend! We co/wrote a few songs together which are just hilarious,very punk meets shouting meets trying to find my style!
I decided to take a holiday in New York as i though i needed a break and wanted to find inspiration from a new source, a new country, a new way of living. So i hopped on a plane and haded for the Big Apple! I took my acoustic guitar with me and with bag in one hand and guitar in another, i was ready to Rock and Roll. Whilst out on vacation, my management called me to say that he had arranged two tickets for me to go to the Sandy Thom show. I was intrigued and thought it could be fun to see how she was breaking America. I arrived at the show with a bag full of Cd's a cards and my friend and i approached the door! After the show, i networked the room and handed out my cd left right and centre. I handed my cd to a man that was also from london and we got talking indepth about music and where we came from as we grew up in the same area of London. He told me to email him when i got back to my hotel so we could set up a meeting as he was worked at a label in New York. I thought great! So i skipped out of the venue, took the business card out of my pocket and looked at the name, who was it? DAVID MASSEY VP OF SONY BMG!!! I had to put that in capital letters as this was exactly how i felt when i looked at the card! So i wrote to him as soon as i got back and waited for a reply! PING, 8:30am Dave Massey, Hi Katie Come to my office tomorrow 10:00am bring all your music and your guitar. So from that moment on i was fired up!
I went to Dave Massey's office a couple days later and spent the entire day there! We went through all my music, we jammed on the guitar, he introduced me to his team! And at the end of the day, he told me he wanted me to come back out and perform at a venue in NYC for him and Sony.
I raced back home to London got straight on the phone to management and said, i have to get back out there NOW!
So with a lot of organizing and fincial backing somehow i managed to fly myself over the big pond, guitarist in one arm management in the other and i played at Arlene's Grocery on Bleaker Street NYC. I had arranged a meeting with Dave Massey a couple days after the show, and other labels were aware that i was in town performing for one night only! My management and i went to see Dave at his office however Dave Massey didn't offer me the deal i was after. I was gutted. After all that hard work, planning and doing, my balloon deflated and whizzed quietly around New York City.
My agent at the time who is at Creative Entertainment Group, called my management and told him of a tour that was happening around the UK. As soon as i heard i could hit the road, i jumped on board.
Andy Abraham's runner up in that years X Factor was going out a theater tour across the UK. My first BIG gig. BRIGHTON DOME!
What an experience this was for me. I was the only tour support, playing an acoustic set, piano and guitar 45mins. The response was unbelievable. It boosted my myspace page http://www.myspace.com.thatvogel by the thousands as i not only played Brighton Dome, but Cardiff St Davids Hall, Bristol Colstan Hall, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, Liverpool Royal Court, Machester Bridgewater Hall, Oxford New Theatre, Portstmouth Guildhall, Ipswich Regent and last but most defiantly not least, LONDON ROYAL ALBERT HALL! Sharon Osbourne came up to me after the Lodnon show and told me what a wonderful and powerful voice i had! Glen Matlock was backstage supporting me all the way, and Chaz Jankle kindly accompanied me on y last song of the set and tour. I have this show recorded on DVD! i was completely blown away by the reception!
After the Big UK Tour, unfortunately my manager said that the project was too big for him to handle and he jumped ship, leaving me, once again, on my own to fight my cause! Here we go again I say!
So with my new material and a tour under my belt, i decided to manage myself. I got in touch with my friends down at BBC Radio and asked for help. My friend Simon Ward who produces Dermot O'Leary onBBC Radio Two told me that he did A&R for Sony BMG. I had to laugh as i thought i have been here before. However Simon jumped on board and began to help me out. I knew that i needed new material and to do this, i needed a fresh pair of ears and a writer!
Joe Charrington from Sony BMG jumped back on the band wagon and introduced me to a wonderfully talented writer Ian Barter. Joe and Simon together decided that a female version of Coldplay indie rock sound would be best for me. So i visited Ian at his studio in Reading and we wrote a couple of tracks in this genre. However surprise surprise, Joe wasn't happy.
I rang Ian and said sod this, i am finally going to do what i want to do and that is SOUL, JAZZ TIMELESS SONGS. That way if people don't like it,at lest i can say i have been myself!
So this is exactly what Ian and myself did. I was also invited to write at Kensaltown Studios in Kensal Green to write with such greats as James Bryan (Nelly furtado's guitarist and co/writer), Sacha Skarbek and the wonderful Martin Terefe. Together we wrote a timeless album that has had worldwide label and management attention and i can finally say this is me, this is who i am..
And what a better way to be reward from the higher force above than to be given this wonderful opportunity to show the world!
I hope you enjoyed my story, if you need any more info, then please do let me know..
Katie Vogel is also known as Katie Waissel (her real name), a contestant in series seven of X Factor in Britian and is being mentored by Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole.
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